ROCKLEDGE — The Statue of Liberty smiled and waved at hundreds of Space Coast spectators Sunday afternoon, holding her golden torch aloft in the sunshine.
“Lady Liberty” was actually Diane Taylor, a member of Titusville’s VFW Post 4228 auxiliary. She wrapped herself in the Stars and Stripes, wore a golden crown and rode aboard the post’s float during the third annual Rockledge Memorial Day parade.
Taylor propped her right arm atop a padded metal brace throughout the holiday procession, fending off gravitational forces. Her late husband, Michael, served in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Rangers from 1969-70.
“Very touching — and very awesome,” she said of the parade experience, moments after stepping off the float. “A lot of clapping, a lot of thank-yous, a lot of smiles.”
Parade viewers occupied folding chairs, blankets, street curbs, grassy areas and sidewalks, seeking shaded spots along the route. The parade kicked off at McLarty Stadium, snaked northward up Murrell Road, turned west onto Barton Boulevard and concluded at McLarty Park, where a memorial ceremony took place.
Parade participants included marching bands, police vehicles and Brevard County military groups.
Inside McLarty Park, a classic car show competed for space with an array of food trucks and tents. Oldie-moldie tunes like “My Girl” by The Temptations reverberated through the trees.
Some Gave All Inc. set up “The Moving Tribute” — 26 black panels displaying military memorial information beneath a large oak tree.
Titusville’s VFW Post 4228 boasted a trio of World War II veterans, a Korean War vet and a Desert Storm/Enduring Freedom vet on its parade float.
“I think it was great. This is one way of getting the word out. We saw lots of smiles, from the little kids to the old people,” said Steve Johnson, incoming commander.